USDA: More Arctic Air Expected for Plains & Midwest

February 7, 2014 02:46 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, very cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock, but most of the winter wheat lies beneath a protective snowcover. "This morning’s temperatures plunged below 0°F across the northwestern half of the region, while current snow depths include 5 inches in Great Falls, Montana, and 4 inches in Wichita, Kansas," USDA details.

In the West, USDA reports the latest round of much-need precipitation is arriving across northern California. Despite recent precipitation, the water equivalent of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack averages 3 inches, about 15% of the early-February normal. "Meanwhile, light snow is improving winter wheat’s protective snow cover across the interior Northwest," USDA details.

In the Corn Belt, USDA explains a substantial snowcover is providing winter wheat with insulation, but cold, breezy conditions are making conditions difficult for winter-weary producers and livestock. "Current snow depths include 25 inches in Traverse City, Michigan, and 10 inches in both Kansas City, Missouri, and Rockford, Illinois," USDA reports.

In the South, USDA says cold, generally dry weather prevails, except for a few showers across Florida’s peninsula. "Temperatures dipped to near the freezing mark (32°F) this morning in parts of Deep South Texas, but crop impacts are not expected to occur," USDA continues.

In its outlook, USDA says tremendously beneficial precipitation will arrive later today across northern California and continue through the weekend. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 4 to 10 inches in the Sierra Nevada; 2 to 5 inches in the Cascades; and 1 to 3 inches across the northern Intermountain West. However, only light precipitation—if any—will occur across the Plains, Midwest, Northeast and Southwest. During the weekend, above-normal temperatures will return from California to Texas. Early next week, however, a new surge of Arctic air will arrive across the Plains and Midwest.


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